Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Freedom Cry DLC Review
cry of freedom is the first (and perhaps only, if the Season Pass description is accurate) single-player DLC for the well-received Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It’s a chance to play as Adéwalé, Quartermaster on Kenway’s Jackdaw, in the main game and tell a story in a different area of the Caribbean for the title. Black flag was a title with a dense cast list, so Adéwalé does a four to five hour add-on quite well for its previously rather limited screen time. One day fate might bring us Stede Bonnet’s Excellent Adventures too.
It is now 1735 and Adéwalé finds himself a dedicated member of the Assassins. After an unfortunate encounter with a storm, he also finds himself in Haiti’s French Port-au-Prince and needs a new ship.
Following his only lead (a mysterious Templar package) he gets caught up in brothel Madame Bastienne Josephe and a looming slave revolt led by a group called the Maroons.
The growing tension between Bastienne’s pre-existing methods of appeasement and Adewalé’s desire to take direct, violent action is cry of freedom very interesting storyline. Both approaches have serious shortcomings; The former prevents any meaningful change, while the latter risks even more severe backlash from French overseers. The rest of the plot proves muddled and unconsequential (don’t be too keen on finding out what’s in that Templar pack), but the moral crisis of how best to help enslaved people without further French tyranny summoning is strong.
Of course, this is a choice that the player can only really observe rather than make. As the protagonist Adéwalé, the conclusion is predetermined and (a climax aside) all implications remain ambiguous. The long-term implications are bleak, as it should be for a story centered around slavery.
cry of freedom includes this topic in the changes it makes Black flags Progression methods, linking upgrades and mission unlocks to the number of slaves Adéwalé freed. As a result, there are an endless number of respawn auction blocks, prisons, and plantations scattered throughout Port-au-Prince. Each a monument to human misery that hammers in the idea that, try as he may, Adéwalé cannot save everyone.
It’s a clever way of incorporating a narrative theme into gameplay, but it has one major downside. By reducing the concept of slavery to a never-ending gameplay mechanic, there comes a point where the player eventually begins to simply ignore the possibilities of freeing prisoners. Perhaps some kind of metaphilosophical point is being made here regarding moral complacency, but the result is that you eventually have to morph into the guy who ambles past a beating and heaves a weary sigh at another fugitive who needs your help. cry of freedom forces you to either embrace a perpetual cycle of freeing slaves or become a total idiot. Thanks very much, cry of freedom.
The DLC also suffers from too many spying and wiretapping missions, which were probably the least welcome activities in Black flag. The ratio there may have been similar, but boring eavesdropping could be interrupted by lengthy pirate exploits. Inevitably and to his detriment cry of freedom shortened length brings them in much closer proximity.
But you can still move quite gallantly on the ocean. It doesn’t take long for Adéwalé to come across a new ship, the Experto Crede, which has a similar (albeit reduced) upgrade path to the Jackdaw. Port-au-Prince is by far the largest location in the DLC, but there are a trio of other plantations to loot, along with a few scattered islands and an abandoned fort or two.
As well as regular French, Spanish and British shipping, it is also possible (and advisable) to take over slave ships to free large numbers of slaves at once. The twist here is that damaging the slave ship itself risks injuring the people trapped inside, so it’s necessary to first knock out the escort ships, and only then board the prison ship. It’s not a fancy departure from Black flags oceanic confrontations, but it adds a touch of thematic novelty to the duration of the DLC.
plantation raids in cry of freedom are similar to those found in Black flag too, only your goal here isn’t mere plunder. Functionally you do much the same thing, sneaking from bush to bush and slaying guards with either the traditional assassin tool kit or Adéwalé’s machete and blunderbuss. You can even recruit some resistance fighters to help you. However, this can sometimes be counterproductive, because if you cause too much rioting, the overseers will start executing the slave laborers.
Ubisoft has brought on board a new composer, Olivier Deriviere, to work on this add-on. give his contributions cry of freedom a distinct tone, with plantation songs and Haiti flourishes for familiar gameplay beats like capturing a ship or syncing a lookout. The only thing sorely missing are a few unique shanties for Adéwalé’s crew to sing. Things are a bit murky aboard the Crede.
cry of freedom feels like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in small. It has the same (or similar) mechanics and activities spread across a smaller map, with a storyline that is of high thematic importance but little of actual events. A strange navigational expedition takes up a decent chunk of the story and fizzles out. Just like Bastienne’s mysterious package. Only towards the end does the story turn more to Adéwalé himself and how his devotion to the creed cannot solve all the tragedies of the world. The same highs (naval battles) and lows (too many horrific interceptions) are present in Black flag are in here cry of freedomthe difference is that you probably played Black flag for 20-30 hours already.